It’s not really a question for online dialogue is it? We’re not in each other’s presence, we can’t see each other’s facial expressions, or feel each other’s vibe.
But sometimes, if there is a video, other evidence, books to draw upon - the testimony of others whom you can take on face value…well, then maybe you could take someone on “face value” online.
People like Ajahn Brahm and Ven Analayo come to mind as prime examples.
But what is the common denominator here? Why is it I can set aside, to quite a significant degree, doubt in it’s guise as hindrance (SN 46.40) with some people? Regardless of whether they’re online or not? Why do I trust them and what they say or teach?
At the moment it boils down to one thing for me. Integrity.
And Integrity means many things to me, particularly as a Buddhist.
Here I want to quote Linda in her reference to Ven Analayo’s current practise as she knows of it:
I found it interesting also when, during the recent live interview he referred to the role that meditation plays in suppressing the 5 hindrances (SN 46.51) and how this influences his scholarly work in a profound way.
I think I can feel enough of a sense of confidence in him to allow my mind to feel that sense of ease and spaciousness that ocurrs when you allow yourself to trust and let go of your focus on doubt. Actually, this sort of trust etc. seems to diminish the power of the other 4 hindrances to a high degree also. I find I’m left with a clearer, stiller, happier mind. It is a curious thing indeed.
I know there are numerous suttas/ebts about the place and value of things like trust, confidence and faith in opening up the Practise in terms of how we experience it personally. But right now I wonder what the EBTs say about when/how it’s okay to listen to someone and believe what they say?